A History of Nova Scotia Page

Footnotes To
Book #3, The Road To Being Canada" (1815-1867)
Chapter 23, Transportation

FN1 Ch23 In 1789, there was a statute passed obliging "All sleds drawn by more than one beast, and constructed to carry loads, going or coming to Halifax, or using the road to it, shall not be less than four feet wide, measuring from the outside of the runners, and the cattle drawing the same, shall be harnessed side by side, under penalty, etc." In 1793: "Carriages laden with timber, and drawn by one horse only, the wheels must be of the width of nine inches; but if drawn by more than one horse, the wheels must be the width of six inches." [The Consolidated Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1805 (Halifax: John Howe, Printers to the King, 1805), p. 271-2 & pp. 326-7.] Captain Moorsom wrote of the state of the roads in 1830. "The state of the ground is such, that stirring out beyond a well-paved street is a matter of impracticability for any purposes of pleasure. The frost having converted the soil into a mass more or less congealed, for the depth of some inches, or even of some feet, is now 'coming out,' as it is termed, and, together with the aid of melting snow or rain, converts all but the best-formed roads into perfect quagmires." [Moorsom, Letters from Nova Scotia (London: Colburn & Bently, 1830), p. 165.] For more on the very earliest roads in Nova Scotia, see Earlier Work.

FN2 Ch23 Kay Grant, Samuel Cunard: Pioneer of the Atlantic Steamship (London: Abelard-Schuman, 1967), pp. 6-7.

FN3 Ch23 A "paved" road, as the expression is used here, is likely not what we understand these days to be a paved road. It was likely a McAdamized road. "John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836), a "loyalist" who moved from the United States in 1798, observed to an English committee (on Highways and Turnpike Roads), "Every piece of stone put into a road which exceeds an inch in any of its dimensions is mischievous." (As quoted by Paul Johnson in his work, The Birth of the Modern (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 178.) By 1820, hard, smooth surfaced McAdamized roads were all over England, so that during the years 1820-37, "England got the best road system since the fall of the Roman Empire." These road systems took time to build and likely began when the English parliament, by its acts passed in 1773, required that "milestones should be set up on the highways, signposts erected at road junctions, and that bridges should be walled or fenced." [T. S. Ashton's An Economic History of England: The 18th Century (London: Methuen, 1955), p. 24.]

FN4 Ch23 Akins, "History of Halifax City," NSHS, #8, p. 174. As of 1820 the sidewalks at Halifax were of wood. (Akins, p. 197.)

FN5 Ch23 Letters from Nova Scotia (London: Colburn & Bently, 1830), p. 244.

FN6 Ch23 J. S. Martell, "Military Settlements in N.S. after the War of 1812," NSHS, #24, p. 81.

FN7 Ch23 It should not be taken that there was no road (such as it was) to Annapolis from Halifax, one had long existed right back to the Acadian times; it went from Halifax to Windsor and from there along the valley to Annapolis Royal.

FN8 Ch23 Lord Dalhousie regularly referred in his journal to sleighing parties. The Dartmouth Lakes, all frozen over in the dead of winter, were a favourite for those on horse-drawn sleighs going up a series of lakes as far as Fletcher's Bridge and Fultz's Inn. (The Dalhousie Journals (Oberon Press: In 3 vols.: 1978, 1981, & 1982), Vol. 1, p. 108 & p. 181.) Incidentally, Lord Dalhousie, unlike his Lady, disliked sleighing -- "I detest sleighing as an amusement, cold & uncomfortable, but as travelling it is very easy & expeditious." (Ibid., p. 182.)

FN9 Ch23 All of this information is taken from Martell, "Military Settlements in N.S. after the War of 1812," NSHS, #24. (See High def. .tif map -- it should open in your image browser and can be magnified for detail.)

FN10 Ch23 Letters from Nova Scotia (London: Colburn & Bently, 1830), p. 326.

FN11 Ch23 As quoted by Mary Black, "Cape Breton's Early Roads," NSHQ, #5:3, pp. 290-1.

FN12 Ch23 Brian Cuthbertson, "Place, Politics and the Brandy Election of 1830," NSHS, #41, p. 11.

FN13 Ch23 Ibid.

FN14 Ch23 Moorsom, Letters from Nova Scotia (London: Colburn & Bently, 1830), pp. 241-2.


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